First off, happy World Breastfeeding Week everyone!
I have so many mixed feelings about breastfeeding, something I did not expect when expecting. My mom had a horrible time trying with me and my sister, a painful anxiety-filled experience that left her riddled with guilt, disappointment, and in the end, no milk. Her milk supply never even came in, and my sister and I were on formula pretty much from day one. I’m a lot like my mom in so many ways, so I suppose I internalized her story and assumed mine would be similar. My entire pregnancy whenever someone asked if I planned to breastfeed I’d answer “if I’m lucky!” or “I hope so!”
When I ended up with a c-section a week before my baby’s due date I was so scared my breastfeeding fate was sealed. After all, I hadn’t had leaking boobs while pregnant like some of my friends had reported, and my boobs had always been so small – maybe they just weren’t built to make milk. Those first few colostrum-only days waiting for my milk to come in were absolute torture. It’s so scary to watch your baby lose those few pounds of birth weight (even if everyone assures you it’s normal!)
Those early days I was LOADING up on all things lactation – I drank Mother’s Milk Tea constantly (a lot of people hate the taste, but if you like licorice like I do it’s delicious!) with a side of Booby Boons cookies, and smoothies with a healthy scoop of Majka’s protein powder. I even enjoyed a beer or two, though the jury is still out on that one (TBH, I just love beer.)
On the second day home Johanna made me homemade Salted Caramel Oat Mylk after reading oats are a great lactation stimulant, and I drank the whole massive jar as quickly as I could. Now there is no science here and I’m not a medical/lactation expert by any means, but the very next day, sure enough…
MY MILK CAME IN!
Theoretically I had yearned for this moment so badly, but HOLY MOLY there are no words for this experience and how weird/painful/alien it felt when it happened. My boobs were seriously like big, veiny, grotesque basketballs and I was SO endlessly leaky and sore. I actually ended up having to pump a bit every time I fed Summer because my boobs were so full and rock hard she couldn’t get her tiny mouth to latch onto them haha! And then there was the emotional side: I had been on such a high since Summer’s birth, but when the milk came I was an absolute mess, with unexpected bouts of crying hysterically set off by just about anything. Oh and my nipples… I don’t even want to talk about the state of my nipples those days, but needless to say I could barely put on a shirt, never mind a bra.
In the end it only took 3 days for my milk to come in, which is pretty good for an early c-section with no labour, and in part I thank all of the lactation boosting products (and the oat mylk, made with love) that I loaded up on!
Now that I’m over six months in, things have mostly evened out in the boob department. I’m no longer a total emotional wreck, but it definitely took me awhile to get past the unexpected rush of anxiety I felt every time Summer latched on for a feed. I also now fully understand that people mean when they say breastfeeding leaves you feeling “touched out”, and I’m sort of glad I don’t have a partner relying on me for intimacy right now because I have never ever experienced so little sexual desire (TMI?) When there are tiny hands on me all day, every day, I don’t really want anyone else getting handsy with my body!
I definitely feel torn at times, so much more than I had anticipated; on one hand I’m so grateful for this experience, for how much milk I make and how easy it has been to feed my daughter using just the magic of my body. Milk making is seriously a superpower, but it isn’t without its downfalls. On the other hand I miss having my autonomy and being able to call my body my own, and honestly breastfeeding takes SO much more time and energy than I ever could have guessed. It’s like a full time job in itself! I’m trying to appreciate this moment without wishing it away, to savour the connection I have with my daughter and the wonder of my body… but I won’t lie, I also look forward to wearing what I want (hello high necks and dresses) and being free to eat and drink (and maybe even smoke? I’ve missed out on this whole cannabis renaissance so far!) whatever without stressing about how it will effect my baby.
Supply-wise I’m still overproducing and constantly leaking, but I’ve made peace with simply being a milky mess (often leading to very hilarious see-through nipple incidents in my all-pastel outfits). Breasts and nipples are so far from a sexual object to me at this point, and if men can walk around all sweaty and hairy with their nipples out all summer long, you best believe I’m not shy about showing mine!
Scroll down for more //
Some of my breast friends in the boob and baby feeding department //
Booby Boons cookies // I’ll never turn down an excuse to eat more cookies!
Elvie Breast Pump // Being hands and chord free while pumping was super high on my priority list because I am TERRIBLE at sitting still, and I’m so thankful Elvie launched their pump just in time for me to become a mom and need one! This pump sits right in your bra and works while you get other work done.
Playtex Nurser with Drop in Liner // I’ve mentioned this before, but so far these are the only bottles Summer will take (apparently I was the exact same 28 years ago!)
Beaba Bottle Warmer // do your baby’s care person (dad, grandma, friend, nanny, whatever) a favour and get this handy appliance. It heats up milk SO quick, so your baby doesn’t have to wait 20 minutes for water to boil etc. while having a hangry meltdown
Bamboobies Washable Nursing Pads // When my nipples were so chapped, scabbed and bleeding I couldn’t handle wearing even a soft tee-shirt without wincing in pain, and these were the only thing I found that gave me some relief! They’re super soft and they work! The only downside – MORE laundry.
Things I didn’t use // Milkies Milk Saver (I was never organized enough to get it to my boob in time to catch the let down), Proper nursing bra (I don’t mind my full boob hanging out, and I can’t be bothered with the clips etc. I spent my entire pregnancy and postpartum in Knix bras), over the counter nipple creams (the only thing that got me through was an prescription cream my midwives ordered for me – it was seriously magic and everyone should ask for it!)
Scroll down for the our Lactation Boosting Oat Mylk (two ways) recipe below!
Hurom Slow Juicer Salted Caramel Oat Mylk //
1 1/2 cups organic large rolled oats
3 cups water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cacao powder
2 tablespoons coconut sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
*To make the Golden Mylk we made the oat mylk plain following the recipe below, and then added Majka’s Vanilla Chai Lactation Booster (SO good in everything!)
Soak oats in 3 cups cold water for 30 mins to soften them, drain and rinse the oats.
Pour the oats and 3 cups cold water to the Slow Juicer, or a high powered blender with the vanilla extract.
Add cocoa powder, coconut sugar and sea salt and blend on high for 3 minutes.
If you’re using a slow juicer, simply turn it on! The mylk will not need to be strained.
If you used a blender, pour the mixture over cheesecloth or nut milk bag into a bowl. You can keep the oat pulp for baking!
Stores in fridge for 3-5 days.